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  October 23rd, 2023 | Written by

Labor Dispute at St. Lawrence Seaway Puts a Chokehold on Cargo Shipments

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In a recent development, workers at the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp are preparing to go on strike due to failed negotiations on wage agreements, according to the Canadian labor union Unifor. The strike announcement came after an extended negotiation period that concluded late Saturday without any mutually acceptable terms.

Unifor, representing the interests of 361 employees within this government-established company, expressed their disappointment at the impasse. Unifor National President Lana Payne emphasized their unwavering commitment to securing a fair agreement in a statement.

Prior to the strike action, a 72-hour notice period was observed, allowing vessels to safely clear the Seaway system. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation assured ongoing communication with the marine industry during this period. In their response to Reuters on Sunday, they mentioned that while there are no vessels awaiting exit from the system, there are over 100 vessels located outside the system that will be affected by the impending strike.

Unifor had issued a 72-hour strike notice to St. Lawrence earlier in the week, primarily driven by their demand for higher wages. If the strike proceeds as planned, it is expected to disrupt the vital St. Lawrence Seaway, a crucial maritime route connecting the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. The implications of this strike extend to cargo movement destined for various Canadian provinces, potentially causing significant disruptions in the supply chain.

The labor dispute at the St. Lawrence Seaway serves as a reminder of the pivotal role this waterway plays in facilitating the transportation of goods within Canada. As both sides remain at an impasse, the future of cargo shipments through this essential route remains uncertain.